Today, Baseball Europe launched its Strategic Plan, which envisages
the sport becoming even more popular in Europe. Later this year, the
International Olympic Committee will decide whether to ratify the
recommendation from Tokyo 2020 to re-include baseball and softball
into the Olympic Programme.
"Now, more than ever, we need the IOC to understand that Baseball and Softball are strong international sports. The commitment we are making is to use powerful international competitions like the Olympics to achieve an impact at the grass roots level of the sports. We see baseball players as being at the heart of what we do, and we have a golden opportunity to harness the power of our sport at its exciting pinnacle, to get more people playing", said Baseball Europe's President, Jan Esselman.
Confederation of European Baseball (C.E.B.) President Esselman, launched this plan at the joint European Baseball and Softball Congress hosted in Hoofddorp, Netherlands last weekend. Leaders from across Europe and the World met to discuss and set a clear direction on the future development of the sports, including World Baseball and Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari.
The Baseball Europe Executive Committee presented a plan with a long term vision of "Baseball, Popular in Europe", delivered through focusing attention and resources on growing the number of players playing baseball regularly all over the continent of Europe. Baseball Europe's plan calls for a movement that will give more people the chance to play the sport.
Member Federations approved the plan and its associated budget, with much excitement and enthusiasm. Further details of how this year’s work on the project will be implemented will be announced to CEB’s member federations shortly, following an initial consultation process between the “CEB Task Force group” and interested parties.
With support from key stakeholders like Major League Baseball, Little League and PONY baseball and softball, and with involvement and support from a number of professionals offered by the Dutch, Spanish and British baseball federations, a task force will be formed to provide the Executive Committee with coordination and person power, to help achieve the vital first steps in the growth initiative.
"We have taken an important step forward", said Esselman, who has one year of his term remaining. "The results of this year’s initiative will be presented to the 2017 Congress and the new elected Executive, who can then evaluate what additional steps are needed to build on and progress the strategy."